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View Diary: H1N1: Why Do Schools Close, And When Do They Open? (249 comments)

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  •  A hypothetical counter argument (1+ / 0-)
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    H1N1 appears to be mild. Flu viruses are very contagious by their nature. There is a strong selection pressure for contagion on the flu virus population. I don't see a strong selection for lethality, unless that's somehow linked to contagion, say through improper procedures with very ill/dead folks. If there is some area of the world where the virus is mutating to favor lethality then it would be important to have as much of our population with an immunity as possible at exposure time to the new, more lethal, strain. That would say that the non-intervention model would have the least overall mortality if the virus mutates into a more deadly version somewhere else and is introduced after the H1N1 flu appears here.

    This is an extension of the theory that normal exposure to pathogens is advantageous by creating a more resilient immune system.

    Again, this is hypothetical but has some interesting conclusions regarding isolation.

    •  but the virus will spread now (2+ / 0-)
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      The Wizard, KimD

      and vaccine would only be ready in the fall, so if you KNEW the virus would be lethal (see 1918), great. Infect everyone, and some will die iof it is widespread because flu does that.

      if you don't know that, what do you do?

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:21:59 AM PDT

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      •  I agree, it's a high risk game (0+ / 0-)

        Those in charge are playing with relative mortality rates for various scenarios. Someone made the decision not to close the borders and not to track and isolate every single infection in the US, probably because it is so contagious that it would be difficult. But that decision will result in some deaths. What ever happens I would support our public health officials as all decisions carry risk and may turn out to appear to be not optimum relative to some other hypothetical scenario, mine included. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

    •  Your argument is based on a fallacy (1+ / 0-)
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      We have no power to stop this from spreading.  That is not what this is about.  As I said in a comment above, the 1918 flu strain was caught by literally 90% of the planet within three years of when it first showed up.

      All we can do is slow down its spread, so that not everyone gets it at the same time.  

      (-8.50, -7.54) Only the educated are free. -Epictetus

      by Tin hat mafia on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:51:53 AM PDT

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      •  No, we have vaccines now - BIG DIFFERENCE (0+ / 0-)

        This is true if we don't have vaccines.  Everyone will get infected eventually, but now that we have a vaccine that will be available in the fall there is a great incentive to stop infections now -now matter if it is mild or not.

        Also, the attenuation of the virus could take years and the first mutations could be to a more, not less, virulent strain.

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